Breastfeeding is Earth-Friendly

When I was pregnant, there were many decisions to be made about how to balance the needs of a new baby while continuing an earth-friendly lifestyle. From cloth diapers to organic cotton baby clothes and non-toxic toys, many small choices were made with the bigger picture in mind. For many reasons, I chose to breastfeed — a decision that impacted me, my baby, and Mother Earth!

Here’s how:

Packaging: Human milk is ready to serve in its original container and is already at the perfect temperature! If every child in America were bottle-fed, almost 86,000 tons of tin would be needed to produce the 550 million cans required for a year’s worth of artificial formula. Plus, bottles and nipples are made from glass, rubber, plastic, and silicon; most are not recyclable.

Waste: Formula packaging and shipping boxes contribute to the waste in landfills. If a baby goes through eight 12-ounce cans of formula per month, 96 empty containers are thrown away before his first birthday. Plus, when breastfeeding, there’s no worry about BPA-lined bottles and cans, or formula recalls for contaminants.

Production: Manufacturing formula requires huge dairy farms, milking machines, cattle feed, manure disposal, factories, packaging, and shipping with all the associated costs. Breastfeeding requires none of these, and is free. Substituting cow’s milk for human milk destroys the water, land, and air. Waste from cattle farms pollutes rivers and groundwater. Cow flatulence releases methane, which may contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer. It would take 135 million lactating cows to substitute the breast milk just of the women of India.2 That many cows would require 43% of the surface of India to be devoted to pasture.

Fewer tampons and diapers: Women who practice total, unrestricted breastfeeding average 14 months without menstruating. This helps with child spacing, and reduces the need for sanitary products. And because formula is absorbed slowly and inefficiently, babies receiving formula excrete more and require more diapers.

Breastfeeding is a natural, renewable resource making it the perfect environmentally-friendly choice.


1. Happy Earth Day
2. The Ecological Impact of Bottle Feeding, by Andrew Radford, Baby Milk Action
3. Breastfeeding; The Eco-Friendly Way to Feed Your Baby
4. Breastmilk: the perfect renewable resource